Urbanization And Populism Clash, Says Ted Rogers Faculty

populism clash

There’s a wide gap between rural dwellers and city folks, explains Dr. Kim Bates, Director of MBA Programs at the Ted Rogers School of Management, and Dr. Steven Murphy, Dean of the School. This gap is apparent in the results of the U.S. elections, where “Trump supporters are those who have been left behind by globalization and digitization,” and are stranded in small communities where they cannot get gainful employment, states The Globe and Mail article. According to this populist politics narrative, universities pollute the minds of the young, filling them with new ideas that leave the past behind, and business schools play a major role in this.

“Business schools provide great opportunities for youth from all parts of the developed world, from the urban to the rural,” Bates and Murphy write in the article. They play a role in launching careers and decreasing unemployment for rural youth. However, business schools also contribute to the divide between the rural and city folk.

“Financial analysis taught by business schools clearly supports decisions by corporations to seek the cheapest labor and the most complex labor-saving technologies, while ignoring more complex issues associated with the loss of gainful employment in many parts of the developed world.”

Business schools also teach that the market will efficiently allocate economic activity, but they’re less effective at teaching how individuals and organizations interact to innovate and how social capital supports efficiency. In fact, business school curriculum doesn’t go into depth on how wealthy families and governments perform better than societies with few prosperous families.

For that reason, Dr. Bates and Dr. Murphy think business and business schools must change. “The new populist movements challenge business schools to ask new questions and evaluate their quantitative models to address the messy complexity of communities, regions, and loss of opportunity within prosperous corporations.” They warn that if business schools continue to ignore the issues, they will add to the growing divide between “those who know better and those who have watched their quality of life erode.”

They call for an emphasis on social responsibility, sustainability and corporate commitment to upright behavior if business schools want to address the root of the populist movement.

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